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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Board Member; Milpitas Unified School District

The questions were prepared by the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Use of Funds, Appropriate Instruction, District Goals

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

? 1. How would you determine that the schools are using federal, state and local funds wisely and fairly and how would you report your findings to the community?

Answer from Vance Vuong:

I have confidence in the judgments of our Superintendent, accountants and controller. The District's financial state and the disbursement of funds are well documented. Various reports are regularly presented at Board meetings and, later, on District's website. There are also two oversight committees for Measures B and E. If elected, I would work closely with other Board members, administrators and principals to evaluate each school's needs and programs.

Answer from Danny Lau:

Our district's superintendent and his staff have done an outstanding job in managing our budget in this financial climate. All spending is well-documented with a full review by the school board and made available to the community. Our school board meetings are televised to the public. In addition, we publish articles in the local paper periodically which summarize our current financial situation.

? 2. Are the schools offering instruction appropriate to the diverse educational abilities of all the students?

Answer from Danny Lau:

We are currently piloting a new 21st century blended learning model where we group students with similar ability (by subject) together and allow them to progress at their own pace. This will allow faster learners to progress more quickly and gives more time to those students that need extra time. In addition to teaching students the core subjects, we are also teaching them skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. This will help students to be successful in the working world.

Answer from Vance Vuong:

All students should be required to meet standards that would provide them with a certain level of proficiency. The top and average students need more challenging projects. The below-average students need more counseling and active tutoring.

? 3. Where do you want the District to be five years from now? What steps should the District take to get there?

Answer from Vance Vuong:

The District would no longer be classified as Program Improvement.

Our students' achievement is a direct result of the quality of instructions, assignments, tests, parents' involvement, and Board's policies. Here are my practical plans for boosting our children's proficiency.

  • Foster digital learning: uses of computers and online interactive tools increase student performance and teacher productivity.
  • Create a Science Field Trip Program: select juniors & seniors take field trips to partnered hi-tech firms.
  • Expand tutoring programs: top juniors & seniors tutor struggling students or English-language learners -- community service credits for tutors, higher test scores for students, savings for the district.
  • Move the school year to mid-August: more instruction time before students take state achievement tests, AP and college-entrance exams.
  • Make plans for a new elementary school; ensure no cost overruns.
  • Cooperate with City Council on shared obligations.

Answer from Danny Lau:

With the success of the 21st century pilot, we plan to roll out this blended learning model to all schools within the next several years. I strongly believe this will dramatically improve our students' skills so they will be successful in this global economy. We must continue to evolve this learning model, collaborate with other learning groups, and communicate with the community. We will become the model that other school districts look to emulate.

With a projected enrollment continues to increase, we will also need to explore adding a new elementary school as well as another small high school. We are actively exploring alternatives and getting inputs from the community so we can plan and meet the needs of our students.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. Please answer each question in no more than 400 words. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:46 PST
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